The candidates running for the 12th U.S. House District seat on Thursday began their homestretch to Election Day with events throughout the metro-east.
Republican nominee Jason Plummer and Democratic nominee Bill Enyart each unveiled ambitious plans to visit towns across the district's dozen Southern Illinois counties and contact voters in person or by telephone. Green Party candidate Paula Bradshaw is concentrating her efforts on the southern part of the district in the final days.
Plummer appeared in O'Fallon on Thursday afternoon to talk up plans to visit all 12 counties in the days leading up to Tuesday's election.
"We're going to be sending people out to make phone calls, knock on doors, to put up yard signs and do everything we need to do to finish strong," Plummer said during a visit to the offices of Diel and Forguson, an accounting and investment advisory firm.
Plummer, a real estate developer from Fairview Heights, used the occasion to again reaffirm his strong support for small business. Accompanying him was Ann Wagner, the GOP nominee for the 2nd U.S. House District race in West St. Louis County.
Plummer said he and his staff also made campaign stops in Wood River, Belleville, Columbia and Waterloo on Thursday.
"There's 12 counties and we'll be in every one before Election Day," he said.
Earlier in the day, Enyart held a press conference outside the Shiloh Gate to Scott Air Force Base to announce his final five-day blitz through the district.
"This race will be close. The stakes could not be any higher," said Enyart, of Belleville. "That's why I'm kicking off my final tour of Southern Illinois and I won't stop for the next five days, meeting with people, knocking on doors, making calls and getting people to vote and make their voices heard."
Joining Enyart was the man he is seeking to replace -- U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Belleville.
Costello, who is retiring after 24 years in office, gave Enyart a strong endorsement. In recent days, Costello also reached out to voters through letters sent by his political committee, endorsing Enyart.
Enyart will prove to be the congressman that 12th District voters are accustomed to, Costello said.
"And that is someone fighting for them for jobs, protecting Medicare and Social Security and protecting and growing Scott Air Force Base," Costello said.
The Bradshaw campaign will likely focus its efforts on Southern Illinois, with door-to-door canvassing set for the towns of Herrin, Marion and Carbondale in the final days before the vote, said Samantha Rocknowski, Bradshaw's campaign manager.
Bradshaw had visited Belleville last weekend, "and we're deliberating about going back up there or not," Rocknowski said.
Early voting is set to continue Friday and Saturday in the metro-east, though hours vary based upon the county. Voters may vote absentee all day Monday in the clerks offices in the counties where they live.